Chocolate Drizzled Vanilla Cookies

Oh this are good cookies!

I found this recipe at the back of a condensed milk label, about 15 years ago. The truth is that the batter never turned out what it should be, hard enough to roll it and cut it out with cookie cutters. However, this is one of my favorite recipes because the results taste really good. This cookies are a bit fluffy inside, like little cakes, with a cookie-like texture crust and a tiny, very tiny, slightly, sour flavor from the cream cheese.

I tried to modify this recipe so the cookies could be cutted into shapes, but the flavor changed too much. So what I used to do, when I was a teenager, was to cut the cookies once they were cooked. Too much waste from the corners…

This time I left them just as they like to be, irregular shaped but yummy white cookies. My husband, as always meddling in my “cookie” bussiness, suggested to add some nuts like those pressed cookies. I did it, they tasted good, but some of the nuts felt down beacause of the batter consistency.

Do as you wish…add nuts if you please or cut out the cookies after baking them so they look as the traditional mexican drizzled cookies. This are one of the best recipes I have in my old teenager recipe notebook.

Chocolate Drizzled Vanilla Cookies
Yields 48
Chocolate drizzled cookies, full of flavor
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup butter (7.7 oz/220 g)
  2. 6.7 oz cream cheese (190 g)
  3. 1 can condensed milk (14 oz/397 g)
  4. 1 egg
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  6. 2 1/2 cups flour
  7. 5 oz (140g) semi-sweet chocolate
Instructions
  1. In a stand mixer beat the butter until creamy. Add cream cheese and continue beating until well combined.
  2. Beat in condensed milk, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Scrape down the sides and continue to beat.
  3. Preheat the oven to 390ºF (200ºC)
  4. Beat in flour until fully combined. The dough should be slightly sticky.
  5. Using a spoon scoop a tablespoon of the dough and drop it onto the greased baking sheets. You can also shape each scoop with your hands into a neat ball.
  6. Bake for no more than 20 minutes, otherwise the cookies may be dry.
  7. Cut chocolate into chunks and melt in the microwave, stirring often. Drizzle over cooled cookies.
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Dealing with baby’s tummy time

Dealing with baby's tummy time

 

Is tummy time crying time?

I know how hard is to keep a baby upside down, because most babies hate it. With had to struggle with Alex’s Tummy Time. It wasn’t a big deal during her first 2 months, but some time after she started to cry and get fussy when she was in this position. She made so much efforts to get on her back that she used to get very frustrated.

It was so hard for my husband and me to see her like that, angry and crying, that we ended with her suffering by turning her over. Soon she learnt to turn over on her back by herself and keeping her on her tummy became nearly impossible. Then, somewhere I read that for this situations is recomendated to put two pillows, one at each side of the baby, so the baby won’t turn over, but this didn’t work for us at all.

dealing with tummy time

I talked with my sister, who has a son two years older than Alex, and she told me to not put her on her tummy just after eating. How come I didn’t think about this before! Poor baby, with her tummy full of milk and making pressure over it. Nobody would like to be on tummy time after eating.

So here’s what worked for me: I started to put her on her tummy just after each diaper change. Then I bought an attractive toy that was “tummy time exlusive”. I didn’t forced her, 5 or 10 minutes was just enough. She stayed there, trying to reach her toy and laughing a bit. So I understood that the tummy time had to be a play time, a nice and fun moment for her. Since then we haven’t had troubles with tummy time. Being upside down is equal to a game. My only problem is still that she turns over because it’s fun for her. But she stays a while on her tummy before turning over and around.

Tips for keeping your baby on her or his tummy

Play time:

Tummy time must be a play time, make it a special moment for sharing with your baby

Choose a toy:

Use an specific toy for tummy time, choose a toy that your baby likes. It’s better if it is a new toy because your baby will relate it with the tummy time.

Right time:

Don’t put your baby on his or her tummy after he or she has eaten. A good moment is after each diaper change, it worked for me.

Amount of time:

At the begining it’s enough to have 10 or 15 minutes tummy time periods. If you do this several times a day, eventually your baby will get used to it.

Enjoy:

Don’t force your baby to be on her or his tummy, if you make of this moment a suffering time your baby will identify it as a unpleasant posture, remember, everything has to be little by little, with no rush.

Comfort:

Place a small pillow below your baby’s tummy and let his or head free. This way your baby’s arms will support less weight. After some weeks he or she will me able to stay this way without the pillow.

Exercise yourself:

Lay down and put your baby on your legs facing down, so he or she can be able to see you. Your baby will find this fun. You can do this sometimes, but remember that it’s important for your baby to be also over flat surfaces, so he or she can strengthen his or her arms. This position on your legs helps his or her neck and back.

DSC_0243

I hope you find useful this tips, each mom has her own style, so if you have other ideas, I would love to hear them.

Passion fruit pannacotta step by step

 

passion-fruit-panacotta

 

Health benefits of passion fruit

The passion fruit is also known as maracuyá, it has a sweet-tart, tangy, and highly aromatic flavor. There a different varieties, from yellow to purple. This fruit is rich source of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium and iron. It also high in pectin, antioxidantes, Vitamin C and Vitamin A.

This fruit has relaxing properties, it helps to prevent heart attacks because it regulates blood pressure, it prevents stomach cancer, reduces bad cholestrol levels, detox the body, and improves digestion.

In the traditional medicine, beacuse of its soothing effects, passion fruit is used for treating anxiety and nervousness, against head and muscle aches, and to treat flu symptoms.

Getting the fruit

This plants grows pretty well where I liv

e, because of the nice, warm and rainy weather. However, the fruit is very hard to get if you don’t own a plant. Passion fruits are not sold at supermarkets. Here because it’s a rare and unknown fruit, and in other countries because it’s a tropical and hard to get fruit. However you may find the pulp at som

e supermarkets, maybe frozen. Here I haven’t seen it.

Sometimes, I’m able to get it at some local markets, but just when it’s season. It’s also common as a gift from some friends that own a plant

. In México you can easily get the plant from greenhouses at Veracruz, Michacán and Morelos. The fruit it’s also sold at this points when it’s season.

There was once a plant at my parent’s house. It was so worthy that my mom used to collect the fruit and make with the pulp “aguas frescas” and desserts like this one. If it was too much pulp she made a syrup with it and froze it. This way we had “maracuya” or passion fruit all the year long.

pannacotta-passion-fruit-recipe

Unfortunately, one day my dad hired a bad gardener that killed the plant, thinking it was weed. Can you believe it? Since then, there are no longer “agua de maracuya” or “maracuya panacota”. As I mentioned before, this fruit is hard to get. Sometimes my parent’s cook get some fruit at her town. Some days ago she brought me some of them and I used to prepare my mom’s famous passion fruit pannacotta.

Nothing tastes like the delicious, tangy, sweet and aromatic tropical passion fruit flavor. However, if you wish to prepare this dessert, and you don’t manage to get some passion fruit, you may substitute it with any sweet and sour acidic fruit, like pineapple, kiwi, blackberries or even mango or raspberries. Each time you prepare a pannacotta, try a different one. All of them are great!

Step by step recipe

Passion fruit mousse
Serves 6
A delicate sweet-tart and creamy dessert
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup passion fruit pulp
  2. 1/2 cup sugar
  3. 1/2 cup water
  4. 1 envelope gelatine (0.25 oz/2 tsp)
  5. 1 can evaporated milk (12 oz)
  6. 1/3 cup sugar
Instructions
  1. In blender or food processor, puree passion fruit pulp until smooth.
  2. Pour off into a sieve over a tiny pot.
  3. Add in sugar and stir with a wooden spoon over low heat until a syrup is formed. Set aside and let it cool.
  4. Meanwhile, dissolve gelatin in 1/2 cup of water and let it thicken for a few minutes.
  5. Pour evaporated milk into another pot and heat stirring until tiny bubbles start to appear.
  6. Wisk in dissolved gelatin, the remaining sugar and 1/3 cup of passion fruit syrup.
  7. Pour the mixture into individual molds and chill overnight.
  8. Unmold and top with passion fruit syrup.
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Flyer design: Microwave cooking workshop

Client: Spa Tzaak-há

I made this design for a healthy cooking workshop. All the dishes are made in microwave. The teacher is a professional nutritionist. For this design I got inspired in a vintage chalkboard, I used some doodle graphics and fonts to make it more friendly, and I drew a woman wearing an apron and holding a tray. Finally I added a wooden border for a nice rustic touch.
cook class flyer design

 

Healthy apple oatmeal muffins with peanut butter icing

My husband loves to ride bicyle. He uses to ride to work, and on the weekends he likes to go with his friends to a forest near of where we live. It’s a nice place for hiking or practice mountain bike. About 2 months ago he broke his arm while riding a mountain bike with his friends. He had to walk down the mountain with his broken arm. Then his friends took him to the hospital. At the hospital, before his surgery, he had a blood test done. The results: cholesterol levels a little bit high. The doctor sent him a special diet, with high calcium, high fiber and low fats.

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However, it’s very hard for him to eat fruits and veggies. I’m always conserned about his bad way of eating, sometimes I even think he eats like a child. Worried about his bad diet habits, I made him this muffins, inspired in an idea he gave me about using peanut butter as a frosting.

 apple-muffins-recipe

I used ingredients that are good for reducing LDL, known as bad cholesterol. Oatmeal is known for bring down LDL levels because it is full of soluble fiber, oatmeal makes you fill full and it’s low in calories thanks to it’s high contents of proteins, and it reduces risks of having diabetes type 2 and heart diseases.

 

One of the few fruits my hubby likes are apples. Thanks God! Apples are one of the healthiest fruits on earth. I added apples to this muffins to make them healthier and give them some good taste. Apples are very high in antioxidants, reduces risk of developing cancer. As well as oatmeal, apples reduce LCL cholesterol levels and risk of heart diseases. Among other benefits, apples help detoxify liver, boost the immune system, controll constipation and prevent gallstones.  

apple-oatmeal-muffins-recipe

So as you can see this healthy muffins are good for everyone. Peanut butter is also very healthy, as well as honey and pecans. This muffins are low in fat, low in sugar, and full of fiber. If you want to, you may substitute some regular flour for whole wheat flour to make them healthier. But you know, that was too much for my husband’s bad diet.

 
 

Healthy apple oatmeal muffins with peanut butter icing
Yields 24
This healthy muffins are low-carb and low-fat. You can eat them for breakfast or as a mid-day snack.
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For the muffins
  1. 4 granny smith apples
  2. 1 1/3 cup flour
  3. 1 tablespoon baking powder
  4. 1 pinch salt
  5. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  6. 6 oz rolled oats
  7. 2 large eggs
  8. 1/2 cup regular sugar
  9. 2 tablespoons honey
  10. 1 cup milk
  11. 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  12. 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
For the icing
  1. 1/4 cup peanut butter
  2. 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  3. 3 tablespoons milk
  4. 24 pecan nuts
For the muffins
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. Peel and cut in dices the apples.
  3. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Add rolled oats and combine.
  4. Lightly beat eggs and wisk in sugar, honey, milk, oil and vanilla.
  5. Add dry ingredients to the mixture.
  6. Add the diced apples and mix until combined.
  7. Pour mix into cupcake tin, filling 3/4 of each mold.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes or until muffins are golden.
  9. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
For the icing
  1. Beat peanut butter, confectioners sugar and milk until well combined and creamy.
  2. Frost each cupcake with the icing and garnish with a pecan nut.
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apple-oatmeal-muffins-peanut-butter

Kitchen Storage Ideas

I’d been moving out to a new house. While doing this, I found out that moving to a new house is a great way to discard old and unused stuff. My grandma used to say that everyone should do a mock move every 2 or 4 years, and now I understand why. It’s unbelievable how much stuff we keep, most of it is unusued or even useless.

I love this new house, it is bigger and we fit better, my baby has her own room and there are two bathrooms instead of one. The only problem is that the new kitchen is not as big as the old one. I had to sell and give away some stuff, and to optimize small spaces. So I got my hands on searching around the web for some kitchen storage ideas. I would like to share what I found with you.

My first storage big problem were the pot and pan lids, here are some ideas for storing them and saving some space.

This lid glide hanger from Glideware

This pan and lid storae glide hanger from Glideware

 

This gadget is called Pantree

This gadget is called Pantree

 

There are many pot lid racks designs, like this one for sale at organizeit.com

There are many pot lid racks designs, like this one for sale at organizeit.com

 

Or attach the curtain rods to a wall and use them for storing lids hanging other ware, found it allaboutyou.com

Or attach the curtain rods to a wall and use them for storing lids hanging other ware, found it allaboutyou.com

 

Attach curtain rods in the cabinet door for this inexpensive lid holder, a tip from Square Pennies

Attach curtain rods in the cabinet door for this inexpensive lid holder, a tip from Square Pennies

 

This diy lid organizer from Instructables is quite easy to acheive

This diy lid organizer from Instructables is quite easy to acheive

 

And for storing food or cans, I found this:

Canned food cabinet from Classy Clutter

Canned food cabinet from Classy Clutter

 

DIY Lazy Susan Pantry

Optimize the corner spaces with this DIY Lazy Susan Pantry by Decor Chick

 

Another use for curtain rods on pantry storage

Another use for curtain rods on pantry storage

 

Install shelves into a pantry door by The Closet Works

Install shelves into a pantry door by The Closet Works

Other stuff:

Use large tins as containers as suggested by Simple Bites

Use large tins as containers as suggested by Simple Bites

 

Add another level to your drawer tray, found on kraftmaid.com

Add another level to your drawer tray, found on kraftmaid.com

 

Install an under cabinet drawer for your knives explained in Popular Woodworking Magazine

Install an under cabinet drawer for your knives explained in Popular Woodworking Magazine

 

Measuring cup hang up from Familyhandyman

Measuring cup hang up from Familyhandyman

 

Hack the flase sink drawer fronts as explained in Domestically Speaking

Hack the false sink drawer fronts as explained in Domestically Speaking

 

Attach a magazine rack into a door, idea from the Wandmaker's Mother

Attach a magazine rack into a door, idea from the Wandmaker’s Mother

 

Attach a pocket organizer into a door, as explained in The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking

Attach a pocket organizer into a door, as explained in The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking

 

Create extra storage space with stacking shelves

Create extra storage space with stacking shelves

 

Pin up bag boxes into doors to free up some space

Pin up bag boxes into doors to free up some space

 

Use drawers instead of shelves  found at laurelberninteriors.com

Use drawers instead of shelves found at Plum Furniture

 

I hope you find some of this ideas useful. I would like to hear your comments about them.

kitchen-storage-ideas

Nutella bites

This post is dedicated to my sister and her brownie inventions

To be honest, this is the story of my brownie disaster. I didn’t took pictures of my fails because I’m not proud of them. It all started one day at my mom’s, my sister and I were trying to create brownie bites instead of regular squared brownies. My sister is an expert brownie baker, it’s very common finding her at my mom’s baking a batch for her boyfriend. Her brownies are always different but delicious, and she never uses boxed mixes. Sometimes she adds coffe, nuts, cranberries, I think she even had added anise. She’s an anise lover by the way.

 

 

Somehow, using a cupcake tin instead of a regular mold, caused a terrible mess, even my sister’s famous brownies recipe failed. They tasted good, but in shape were awful, the center collapsed and they stuck in the tin. I returned home disappointed, with a batch of brownie crumbles, anything but not well-shaped brownie bites. I decided to try more recipes and test the results. After plenty of experiments I finally succeded with a nice recipe. They didn’t turned out as fudgy as regular brownies because this caused them to stick to the tin and collapse. They are more like fluffy, chocolatey mini cakes with a slightly fudgy texture, which I sincerely loved.

 

bocadillos-nutella

 

The secret was adding nutella. There are plenty of nutella brownie recipes around Internet, I don’t know precisely who came upon this idea, but it’s a great idea. The original viral nutella brownie recipe calls for nutella, flour and eggs, that’s it. I find it quite dull and absolutely not fudgy so I added sugar. The more sugar you add, the more fudgy your brownies will be.

 

 

Finally, another brownie recipe for my sister’s collection. My husband loved them, he ate them with peanut butter and gave me a great idea I must try for the next time I bake them. I must add chocolate chips, chopped nuts and cover them with a peanut butter frosting and see what it turns out.

 
ale

nutella-bites

Brownie Nutella Bites
Fluffly but fudgy
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup nutella
  2. 3/4 cup sugar
  3. 1 cup flour
  4. 3 eggs
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven at 350 ºF.
  2. In a bowl mix nutella, flour and sugar.
  3. Whisk in eggs.
  4. Grease and flour a cupcake tin.
  5. Pour mix into cupcake tin, filling below half of each mold.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes or until done.
  7. Remove from mold until cold.
Notes
  1. Add chopped nuts and chocolate chips if you wish to.
Adapted from Scoochmaroo Nutella Brownies
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20 plants that butterflies love

20 plants that attract butterflies: lantana, fennel, salvia, zinnia, verbena, thitonia, coreopsis, joe-pye weed, bee balm, milkweed, cosmos, chives, aster, buddleia, phlox, lilac, rudbeckia, lavender, coneflower and marigold

Butterflies seem like flying flowers, full of colors and always fluttering around, making any landscape joyful. Who wouldn’t love to have butterlfies in their garden? A garden is not complete without flowers and butterflies. So that’s the first step, have garden full of flowers. But what flowers? The best ones are the native flowers because bufferflies look for plants that can be found on their natural habitat. If you want to know what are the native plants of your zone, go to this link. Choose flowers with bright colors and fragant, butterflies love orange, yellow and purple.

Here’s a list of the most popular flowers for butterflies:

Aster- choose from various colors, attract swallowtails, sulphurs and buckeyes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bee balm attracts butterflies

 

 Black-eyed Susan attracts butterflies

 

Buddleia attracts butterflies

 

Milkweed attract butterflies

 

Chives attracts butterflies

 

Cosmos attract butterflies

 

Fennel attracts butterflies

 

Joe-pye weed attracts butterflies

 

Lantana attracts butterflies

 

Lavender attracts butterflies

 

Lilac attracts butterflies

 

Marigold

 

Mexican sunflower

 

Phlox

 

Purple coneflower

 

Salvia

 

Tickseed

 

Verbena

 

Zinnia

 

As you can see some of this plants are very fragant, if you plant them in your garden it will smell great. This plants attract all kinds of pollinators, so expect a bunch of bees and hummingbirds too. You can take advantage of that and have around some fruit plants like berries or citrus,  this way you will have more fruit production. Also keep in mind that some of this plants are toxic to humans or pets, be sure to ask to your seller before plating them.

If you are into butterfly gardening I suggest you to visit this pages, you may find there more detail information about host and nectar plants:

Gardens with wings

Colorado State University: Attracting Butterflies to the Garden

The Butterfly Site

 

Sewed heart pincushion

Heart pincushion patchwork diy

This heart is a great gift for Valentine’s Day

This is my first post about a sewing proyect. I’m new at this so I started with a simple and easy sewed heart pincushion. Besides from a pincushion, you can use this heart for other things. For example, you can make multiple sewed hearts, attach them a ribbon and make some garlands or a mobile. Or you may stuff them with lavender scented potpurri to make some sachets. You may also sew a big heart and make it a pillow.

You just have to follow this simple steps for sewing a heart:

1. Make the pattern: it’s quite easy, fold a paper in half, trace one heart half (like a water drop) and cut it out.

2. Cut the heart: attach the paper to two pieces of fabric with wrong sides together, then cut out the fabric around the pattern, leaving about 1cm. Trace the border of the paper as a sewing guide.

3. Sew the heart: remove the pattern but leave the cutted hearts attached. Now sew along the traced line. Remember to leave some space to turn over the heart and stuff it.

4. Turn over and stuff the heart: turn the heart right-side out through the opening and stuff it. Now seal the gap with a blind stitch.

5. Decorate the heart: now the heart is finished, decorate it with nice stitches, and attach it a ribbon. I just decorated mine with a blanket stitch on the border.

Here are some ideas of what you may do with sewed hearts

cute heart ideas for valentines

I found on the Internet this cute pictures. Some of them are tutorials and others aren’t. Get inspired and sew out some hearts.

Step by step quiche caprese

Mozarella and tomato quiche caprese

Savory quiche with mozzarella, tomatoes and basil

The basic filling of the quiche is made of eggs and cream. I created this quiche inspired by my favorite salad: the italian caprese salad, made of tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and basil. This salad represents the colors of the Italian flag: red, white and green.

I used my favorite, slightly flaky, pastry crust

I use this crust for all kind of savory pies, because is quite simple to make, it tastes great and is slightly flake. I have tried other crusts, but I like this one because it’s crumbly, quick and the egg provides a good flavor, better than the eggless crusts. You can freeze it up to 3 months or keep it in the fridge for a week. Thaw it out and then let it stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes before rolling it. You can make a whole batch and use it whenever you need to, it’s great for those lazy days. Use it for any pie or quiche with your favorite filling.

quiche-caprese02

Just 7 ingredients filling

What I love most about this quiche is that is quick and simple to prepare. You just need the basic filling ingredients: egg, cheese, cream and a bit of flour to thicken. Then you add any other ingredient you like, like veggies or meat. I used fresh tomatoes, pieces of ham and a bit of dry basil. For the traditional quiche lorraine instead of tomatoes add some cooked sliced onion and bacon, instead of basil add nutmeg, and instead of mozzarella cheese add swiss cheese. Spinash, mushrooms and nutmeg make a great filling to. Get creative and make your own filling.

quiche-caprese03

Did you know?

Egg is rich in choline, a viscous substance, full of nutrients and complex-B vitamins. Plus, egg is one of the most nutritious food on earth, rich in other vitamins, minerals, proteins and omega-3. That’s why egg consumption is very important for pregnant and nursing women, it benefits the fetus and the nervous system development. It is proved that eggs doesn’t really affect cholesterol levels on blood, unless you have a genetic disorder called hypercholesterolemia. On the contrary, eggs raise the levels of good cholesterol and may help reduce the risk of heart stroke. You can find more info about the benefits of eggs here.

italian caprese quiche

Some quiche history

According to the foodtimeline.org research, the quiche could have evolved from an Ancient Roman cheesecake like dish called patinea and some Medieval European tarts. The modern quiche was originated on the Lorraine French region, near of Germany. It is believed that the word quiche derives from the German word “kuchen” for “cake”. The term became current at the beginning of the 19th century.

Step by step

 

Quiche Caprese
Serves 2
This Italian inspired Quiche is very quick and easy to make
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Pie crust
  1. 7 oz flour
  2. 2.8 oz unsalted cold butter
  3. 1 teaspoon salt
  4. 1 egg
  5. water (if necessary)
Filling
  1. 3 roma tomatoes
  2. 2 eggs
  3. 7 oz mozzarella cheese
  4. 3.5 oz heavy cream
  5. 1 tablespoon flour
  6. 2 tablespoon dry basil
  7. 1 pinch salt
  8. 1 pinch grind pepper
For the savory pie crust
  1. Cut cold butter into small cubes and mix with flour and salt.
  2. Using both of your hands combine all until it becomes like coarse sand.
  3. Add egg and and some water if necessary, no more than 2 tablespoons.
  4. Combine and knead the dough until it holds together. Be careful to not over-knead the dough.
  5. Form a ball and put it in a plastic bag. Place it in the fridge for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the filling.
  6. Grease and flour your pie pan. Take out the dough from the fridge.
  7. On a floured surface roll the dough, wrap it around a rolling pin and unwrap it over your pie pan.
  8. Poke some holes into the pie crust with a fork.
  9. Cover it with aluminum foil or pie weights and bake for 15 minutes, or until the surface gets golden.
  10. Unmold and pour your favorite filling.
For the filling
  1. Lightly whisk the eggs.
  2. Add diced tomatoes, ham, cream and flour. Combine well.
  3. Add shredded cheese, salt, pepper and basil and combine.
  4. Pour the filling into a prebaked pie crust. Bake for 40 minutes or until it's done.
  5. Enjoy warm or cold, as you wish.
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